HealthDay News — Precision cancer treatment that’s guided by genetic clues from the patient’s own tumor appears to improve outcomes, even when adopted in the first stages of treatment development, according to findings scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from June 3 to 7 in Chicago.

Maria Schwaederle, PharmD, of the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine’s Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy, and colleagues analyzed 346 phase I clinical trials published between 2011 and 2013 and involving more than 13,200 patients. Those trials included 58 treatment arms that employed precision medicine, using tumor data to select patients for treatment, and 293 that did not.

The researchers found that treatment arms employing precision medicine achieved tumor shrinkage rates of 30.6%, compared to 4.9% in treatment arms that did not utilize such techniques. Patients in precision medicine arms also had nearly twice the progression-free survival, with an average of 5.7 months compared with 2.9 months. Researchers also found that basing therapy on a patient’s DNA indicators outperformed use of protein indicators, 42% to 22.4%.

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“Our study suggests that, with a precision medicine approach, we can use a patient’s individual tumor biomarkers to determine whether they are likely to benefit from a particular therapy, even when that therapy is at the earliest stage of clinical development,” Schwaederle said in a news release from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “This strategy often results in good outcomes for patients, and I hope it will encourage and reassure doctors and patients considering enrollment in precision medicine-based phase I trials.”

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  1. Precision Medicine Yields Better Outcomes for Patients in Phase I Clinical Trials [press release]. Published May 18, 2016. American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2016 Annual Meeting; June 3-7, 2016; Chicago, IL. 
  2. Schwaederle MC, Zhao MM, Lee JJ, et al. Impact of precision medicine in refractory malignancies: A meta-analysis of 13,203 patients in phase I clinical trials. J Clin Oncol. 2016;34:suppl;abstr 11520. Poster presented at: American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2016 Annual Meeting; June 3-7, 2016; Chicago, IL.